The House Is Set To Vote On 2 Immigration Bills & It Could Change Everything For Dreamers

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Last September, President Trump announced an end to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program (DACA). Since that time, multiple courts have blocked Trump's move to end the program. Moreover, Congress has indicated that it is seeking to find a long-term solution for DACA recipients, though members are split on how to best handle the issue. If you've been wondering when Congress will vote on DACA, it looks like immigration votes could come as early as next week. However, these votes will likely be limited to two Republican-led bills on immigration.

As the New York Times reported, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan announced on Tuesday evening that his chamber would be voting on immigration measures next week. Ryan's announcement came after a bipartisan measure called a discharge petition failed to get enough signatures to force a vote on more moderate immigration bills, including the DREAM Act and another bipartisan bill. Both bipartisan bills propose a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children (Dreamers), many of whom are DACA recipients.

With the failure of the discharge petition, which was two signatures shy of the 218 required, these bipartisan measures will not be voted upon. Instead, only two comparatively conservative immigration bills will be put to the House floor for a vote, as opposed to all four measures.

As Vox explained, one of these bills is a conservative measure sponsored by Bob Goodlatte of Virginia. The bill would give temporary status to DACA program recipients and diminish options for legal immigration. As the New York Times noted, this measure is backed by conservatives as well as by President Trump.

The contents of the other bill, which has yet to be written, are more unclear. The bill is being referred to as a compromise bill and, according to Vox, is reportedly being written in accordance with a White House framework on immigration. This framework reportedly includes strengthening border security, diminishing legal immigration based on familial ties, ending the diversity lottery, and granting legal status to those brought to the United States as undocumented children. However, as Vox noted, lawmakers are still debating how exactly the components of this framework should be fleshed out in the bill.

It seems that both Republican-led bills will offer some type of protection to Dreamers, though they will likely vary significantly in the protection that they do offer. As the New York Times noted, as the compromise bill is being drafted, one of the biggest questions will likely be whether or not to provide some type of path to citizenship for Dreamers, as the bipartisan bills propose. As the paper reported, citizenship pathways are often quite controversial in the Republican party, as more conservative members often perceive them as providing "amnesty" to undocumented immigrants. Thus, differing perceptions on citizenship pathways and other topics may influence whether Republicans are able to collectively support one immigration measure.

Indeed, as the Chicago Tribune noted, there is some doubt as to whether either one of the immigration bills can pass the House next week. Moreover, as Reuters reported, even if a bill does pass, it must also secure support in the Senate, which would require Democratic votes. As Vox noted, the Senate has already voted against three different immigration bills, including one that was based on the aforementioned White House framework.

Overall, the upcoming immigration votes could certainly carry high stakes. For Dreamers, the votes could contribute to determining their future status in the United States. For Republicans, any measure they do (or do not) pass will certainly be under scrutiny as the 2018 midterm elections approach. Needless to say, many will be observing to see how exactly the immigration debate unfolds in the House of Representatives next week.